Rainy City Roller Derby from Manchester, England won the honor of playing this bout, defeating 10th seed Steel City Roller Derby, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the first game of 2016 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Columbia. The 2nd seed, Jacksonville RollerGirls, from Jacksonville, Florida, had a bye in the first round, making this their first game of the day. While Rainy City could not pull out a win, they put up an impressive performance against the higher ranked team and did well in their first game at WFTDA Playoffs. In the end, Jacksonville took the game 214-96.
Jacksonville jumped out to a quick 31-1 lead in the first four jams before Rainy City would hit their stride seven minutes in, with Wilde picking up Rainy City’s first lead jammer status of the game while blocker Missy Rascal dominated Jacksonville’s jammer, Krispy Kreme-Her. Unfortunately, the next jam would look a lot like the first four, with a jammer penalty to Rainy City’s Smack Mamba and a 19-point run by Steel City transfer, Snot Rocket Science. Following a couple more jammer penalties for Rainy City, Wilde would once again get lead and five more points, bringing the score to 62-11 with half the period played. While Rainy City could hold their own when their defense was left to set up and play a slow game, their transitions to a faster pack and their strategies for dealing with offensive blocking from Legs R Us and Stephanie Gentz left them trailing on the scoreboard, 133-24 at the halftime, and in the stats, with 5 lead jammer statuses to Jacksonville’s 13. Rainy City was playing Jacksonville’s game.
The second half did not go the same way. With expert bench management from Mick Swagger, Rainy City found their own game at halftime. GoGO Chanel, Wilde, and Alex Valentine would draw first blood for the Brits, going 17-0 while keeping Jacksonville scoreless for the first five minutes of the half. The wraparound offensive hitting from Ruthless Philly and Missy Rascal proved successful for Rainy City in the turns, allowing their jammers to avoid the braced walls of Jacksonville. Their jammers, who had been anxious to score points in the first half and had picked up penalties on risky moves, settled into their play and skated a much cleaner half. Rainy City picked up 10 lead jammer statuses to Jacksonville’s 8 in the second half and tripled the number of points they scored in the second compared to the first. The jammers were not the only skaters to step up for the Brits; their defensive formations became more adaptive to Jacksonville’s offense and kept their play slow, even when the Floridians wanted to run the pack.
The turnaround from the first half to the second half was impressive, but Jacksonville was not to be undermined. They put up some of their highest jams in the second half to maintain their huge lead, despite not being lead jammer the majority of the time. A 20-0 jam by Jamsterella and a 19-0 jam by Krispy Kreme-Her served notice that Jacksonville could continue to dominate. They will need to put it together more consistently as they move on in the tournament, though, and without Erin Jackson, all three of their remaining jammers need to have a good game every game. Snot Rocket Science, in particular seemed to be a bit shaky throughout the game. With less than five minutes on the clock, she picked up a low block, allowing Wilde to come out of the box for lead and 13 more points. This gave Rain City a silver lining finish, winning the final two jams of the game 17-1 and closing the score gap from the first half, with a final score of 214-96.
Jacksonville will go on to play Denver Roller Derby (#3) at 8 p.m. on Saturday, while Rainy City moves to the consolation bracket, playing the winner of Game 7 at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Jacksonville RollerGirls (#2) 214
Rainy City Roller Derby (#7) 96